Welcome back! We're only a week and a half away from the long overdue return of NHL hockey!
In this shortened season, goaltenders will be huge parts of their teams as the last lines of defense. We've seen recently with teams like Los Angeles, Nashville, and St. Louis that if you have a spectacular goalie, you don't need an overwhelming offense to be one of the league's top teams. Let's take a look at the top five goalies in the league to have for your fantasy team.
1. Henrik Lundqvist - New York Rangers
King Henrik is the best goalie in hockey. Simple as that. Also, with John Tortorella's shot-blocking defensive system in front of him, Lundqvist's numbers will be helped out even more. It's a win-win; no other goalie is better to have on your fantasy team than Henrik Lundqvist.
2. Jonathan Quick - Los Angeles Kings
Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick was a huge part of the Kings' incredible playoff run last spring. He was a fairly underrated goalie under he garnered national attention, leading the Kings to their first-ever Stanley Cup Championship. Expect him to play at the same elite level that he always has.
3. Pekka Rinne - Nashville Predators
He may not have defenseman Ryan Suter to help him out anymore, but Pekka Rinne is an elite NHL goalie and my dark horse pick to win the Vezina. His stature and skill were some of the main reasons why the Predators knocked out Detroit in just five games in last year's playoffs. Despite being outshot by a wide margin in the majority of those games, Rinne stole the show and helped his team defeat its long-time rival. Rinne can be expected to have another great year, as he has already blossomed into a star goalie.
4. Mike Smith - Phoenix Coyotes
Mike Smith was a huge part of the best playoff run in Phoenix's history. This year, he has a chance to prove himself as one of the top goalies in the NHL. I personally had him on my fantasy team last year and he helped lead me to my league championship. If this season is anything like last, he could be a vital part of your team's success as well.
5. Cory Schneider - Vancouver Canucks
This will be Schneider's first season as Vancouver's starter, but nobody could be more prepared than him. He posted a 1.96 Goals Against Average in 28 games last season, and while those numbers will be near impossible to duplicate as a starter, Schneider has a lot of promise to bring success to your fantasy team and the Canucks as well.